The role of leaf structure in vibration propagation

J Acoust Soc Am. 2000 Nov;108(5 Pt 1):2412-8. doi: 10.1121/1.1286098.


The leaf and its structural components play a key role in the propagation of short transient signals produced by insects. In this paper, it is shown how the complex structure of an apple leaf could be modeled by a much simpler one for the analysis of vibratory signal propagation. Waves were produced by impacts of small spheres and the propagation studied using two laser vibrometers, followed by a wavelets analysis. Three components of the leaf were investigated: the midvein, minor veins, and the interspaced homogeneous regions making up the leaf lamina. The loss of signal energy over the leaf lamina and across minor veins and midvein was studied. For the midvein, the loss of energy decreased from 80% at the leaf base to 40% at the apex. For minor veins, the loss of energy decreased from 70% at the leaf base to 31% at the apex. The loss in homogeneous regions was 40%. A signal decomposition into two frequency ranges, above and below 1.7 kHz, showed that the midvein acted as a low-pass filter. As energy loss was mainly a function of vein diameter and not vein type, veins smaller or equal to 0.2 mm were considered as equivalent to homogeneous regions. Hence, a model leaf reduced to the leaf lamina and veins with a diameter >0.2 mm is retained for the study of signal propagation in a leaf.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Models, Biological
  • Plant Leaves / anatomy & histology*
  • Plant Leaves / physiology*
  • Vibration*